MIDLAND, TX. - Corpus Christi's longest road trip of the season began with a thud Friday night at Citibank Ballpark.
Douglas Arguello, the Texas League leader in ERA, was removed after only one inning on the hill. And in the bottom of the 10th, a controversial check-swing call resulted in a bases-loaded walk by Corey Brown, giving Midland a 4-3 victory over the Hooks.
The RockHounds improve to 23-18 in the second half, while the Hooks drop to 15-26.
Arguello, who entered Friday's action with a league-best 2.57 ERA, retired three of four batters in the first, giving up a two-out double by Adrian Cardenas. He threw 18 pitches and appeared to be fine when he walked back to the third-base dugout.
However, at the start of the bottom half of the second, Edwin Walker took the mound. Corey Brown drew a walk to open the frame and scored on Archie Gilbert's double to the gap in left-center. Shane Peterson walked and Matt Sulentic followed with a single to make it 2-0 Midland. Later in the inning, Jemile Weeks doubled inside the left-field line to plate Peterson for a 3-0 score.
The Hooks climbed back into the fray in the sixth with the power stroke. J.D. Martinez led off the inning with a home run into Midland's bullpen in right. Two batters later, David Cook did the same, and the Hooks were to within a run at 3-2.
In the seventh, with storm clouds approaching, Albert Cartwright singled with one out and went to second on Jhon Florentino's ground ball out to third. Martinez followed with a sharp single to right to get Cartwright home to level the affair.
Those clouds never produced rain, and the two clubs traded zeros until the home 10th. Josh Horton and Cardenas provided back-to-back singles with one out to put Midland runners at first and second. Former Hook Val Majewski drew an 11-pitch walk against reliever Jailen Peguero, loading the bases for Brown.
Midland's center fielder worked the count full, then checked his swing on the 3-2 offering. Catcher Federico Hernandez appealed to third base umpire Kelvin Bultron, who gave the "safe" sign, effectively ending the game. The call was close, one that could have gone either way, but fell to Midland's favor.
The newest member of the club, right-handed reliever Bubbie Buzachero, stole the show for Corpus Christi. Just acquired by the Astros from the Blue Jays, Buzachero, 29, tossed four innings of perfect relief. He retired the 12 batters he faced in innings five through eight and needed just 28 pitches to get the job done. Buzachero most recently pitched for the New Hampshire FisherCats in the Double-A Eastern League.
Martinez went 3-for-4 with two RBIs and finished a triple shy of the cycle. Cook had three hits in five trips.
Game two of the series takes place Saturday night at 7 o'clock. Henry Villar (3-6) tangles with Midland southpaw Ryan Edell (7-3).